HSE LIFE #2 UK version

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October 2010


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THE GOOD THAT COMES OUT OF A NECESSARY EVIL The step from a nomadic hunter-gatherer society to an agrarian society was no easy one. Neither was it a voluntary one, but a leap to help the species survive. It demanded adaptability and empathy, plus a measure of flexibility. Structure was essential, and a system of rules to maintain it. It worked - through a process of trial and error - and humanity escaped being labelled an extinct species.

We now simply take for granted many of the more ubiquitous rules. However, the way we follow them is habitual, like second nature. This is a good thing, because it would take too much time and energy to think about them. And we shouldn’t waste time and energy on trivia, but save them for things that really matter. We call this routine. Doing what we have done thousands of times before without stopping to weigh up the pros and cons. Breathing. No point thinking about it. Cleaning your teeth. Would add nothing. Walking upstairs. Irrelevant. Reading a work permit. No real need. Performing a last-minute risk analysis. Perhaps we should, after all?

Rules. They come from all sides and everyone has their own ideas about them. The first social human already had some difficulty with them. In that respect, little has changed in tens of thousands of years. It is in our genes. But something else determined by these genes is the urge to survive, the desire to be able to return home in good health at the end of a working day. There’s a good reason for that.

On behalf of THE WAT GROUP

Pier van Spronsen





G Bart van de Leemput Whereas many companies are now thinking seriously about how to coordinate their procedures and instructions, Shell (and therefore also NAM) are in the ‘luxury position’ of being able to concentrate on the lack of ambiguity and the comprehensibility of their own rules, throughout the chain.




Things can always be better.

Driven by constant concern,

each year we are working more safely than the year before. We have learned many things about how to work better, and more safely. Explaining works. Procedures are effective only if people understand them. There is more to understanding than knowing the facts. It also demands a degree of experience, because only then will it be possible in practice to recognise the risks that procedures seek to avoid. It is therefore necessary to explain, not only to new employees, but also to old hands whose knowledge may have become dulled in the course of time, or who need realigning with changes in the company’s focus. Repetition, and demanding permanent attention to the dangers and risks of work and the workplace, are also effective measures. Only then can you keep a healthy sense of vulnerability alive, which is what keeps people alert.

“Obeying tried-and-tested rules can make your own life a bit easier. Procedures are based on things that once went wrong. When procedures become a habit, we can prevent problems. Life is just too short to make all the mistakes yourself. Moreover, some mistakes can make life shorter. More to the point: one big mistake can mean it is all over. The moral of this story is to learn from mistakes, because someone already made them.” “Anyone who would like to try an ‘alternative’ way of learning about the mistakes others have made should take a look on www.darwinawards.com. This site presents – posthumous – awards to people who have improved our gene pool by (accidentally) removing themselves from it.”



The question we are always asking is whether we have made it all simple and efficient enough. Our CMS is full of procedures, all of which are interrelated, never absolute. It is a fact that no one in the workplace looks forward to complicated quests that eventually produce bulky documents. This is why we are attempting to structure the CMS as clearly as possible, while translating the material in it as comprehensibly as possible. Entire sets of instructions are being reviewed on a regular basis. The updated versions are entered into the CMS. Our staff in the field take care of implementation and rollout throughout the chain, including to contractors. They are supported by the tools we have developed, such as ‘A way of living’. It takes time, and in the meantime countless high priority matters demand, or perhaps even compete for, attention. This is a lesson we have now learned: investing in safety takes time. But handled correctly, the lack of incidents will ultimate save enormous amounts of time.

We make no secret of our rules, and how we and our contractors constantly evaluate them. Our information is available to all, which is consistent with our aim of keeping the discussion alive. We do this not on the basis of the regulations themselves, but from the notion that ‘we care’.

Bart van de Leemput is Managing Director of NAM






Last edition you could read about my acquaintance with Sjaak Drost in his pub ‘the Black Swan’ in Buinen. During our conversation I couldn’t help noticing there was something missing on his right hand....

“Sjaak, how could THIS happen?”. I stare at his right hand of which only the thumb, ring finger and little finger are left. He strokes his right hand with his left. The bartender puts down a beer for him. “Yeah, doll, this was one hell of a bang. There was this British P(r)IC with us.” Sjaak roars with laughter, he quiets a moment and seems to wait for my reaction. “Ah, bloody hell, the doll doesn’t understand the wit” he says to the bartender. The bartender mumbles, doesn’t look up and continues counting his cash. ”A PIC, is the Person In Charge, so you add a little r and there’s your Prick! Ha, ha! A prick, you see!” He nudges me (quite hard actually). And politely I laugh...

“So we were hoisting this load you see. I held the damned container to keep that bitch from swinging. Then suddenly this British lad yells something. I thought he asked for the rope. So I let go of the hoist and go for the rope which lay somewhere behind me. Well, and you know, when I walked back there, the container was swaying like a madman. All these pansies were screaming and making a drama. So I try to get hold on the container again, right?” A shiver runs down his crooked back. A fit of coughing. He readjusts his dark sunglasses and gulps in his beer. He wipes his mouth with the back of his left hand and takes a large breath. “I don’t even know what exactly happened, I think my feckin’ hand half came between the hoist and the cable. Anyway it was as if my wife had planted her fat arse on my hand.” Sjaak laughs and addresses the bartender “Right boy? As if my wife planted her fat arse on my hand, we had quite a laugh about this hey?”

He suddenly stops laughing altogether, spits and then stares for a while. “Yeah, I never worked there since. When I was flown of in that damned helicopter I thought ‘Well, this is a place I won’t be seeing no more. ”He drums the bar with his left hand. “And you know what the funny thing was? That British laddie didn’t even say ‘rope’, he just said ‘stop’” He pauses a moment “Yeah, it was a mess in those days. We didn’t understand a thing with all these queer languages...”

“You know love” he turns to me “my son works on such an island nowadays you know. And once in a while I like to read these booklets with all their rules and regulations. Well if I was to write such a booklet I wouldn’t bullshit so much. I came up with my own ten commandments... listen up.”



0 1 P O T G N I T S I O H at hand. 1. I have it all your hand. the hoist and n 2. I shut up. ee w et b er ace of 1 fing 3. Keep the sp nguage. your own la k ea a beer. sp in k 4. Fec doesn’t hold t a th d n a h ith the 5. I hold on w ou drop. 6. Hoist till y aterials. l tend the m il w se el e n 7. Someo meself only! 8. I listen to usn’t bullshit erself too! 9. That PIC m d have one y n a r ee b a w 10. And no


Glossary PIC: Person In Charge. Responsible for hoisting and lifting. He oversees and supervises the situation.

Next time:

The workgroup “Rules are rules”! Some time onshore due to the accident…..




As long as people live with rules, there will be discussion about them. Everyone has their own views about rules that are imposed. But‌

how would you prefer your professional world to be arranged?





“Taking initiatives of your own means you can even set new standards.�

There are several ways of anticipating conflicts about whose procedure is to be followed.

Gert-Jan Windhorst

As a contractor, we long ago took the lead in clearly defining the rules that govern where we can be employed. Drilling is a specialised field. Who could be better placed to define the conditions and constraints on operations than the actual specialist? It has been said that our main objective, within the freedom to manoeuvre under the outdated mining legislation of the time, was to avoid being a plaything of the clients, and subject to the paternalism of the oil companies. The arrival of the Working Conditions Act went some way to clarifying certain responsibilities. For instance, the responsibility for an employee is with the employer. However, vague aspects of the regime can become apparent depending on where an employee is engaged to work. This issue has only limited relevance for us, since our employees work in our own workplace: the rig. We are therefore reasonably autonomous. Even if we lease out a rig to third parties, our own management system remains completely intact. Legally speaking, procedures have nothing to do with the current contract, although some people may disagree. On the other hand, most rules are so universal‌ Without wishing to sound religious, everyone knows that the world we live in would be a better place if we always obeyed the ten commandments. It is therefore safe to assume that this idea is reflected in every decent management system.



However, our wish to introduce uniformity in the rules is on a different level. As drillers we have now been in the IADC for seventy years. The respective governments of the countries where our rigs operate have been members of the North Sea Offshore Authorities Forum for some fifteen years. It would be a good thing if the NOGEPAs of Europe, who are members of the international association of oil and gas producers OGP, could also arrive at harmonisation of regulations for the North Sea. We, Noble Drilling, have taken a leading position in this development. Some twelve years ago we made various proposals to the IADC members. The supporting documents were ‘de-Noble-ised’ by the IADC in advance. The members accepted the proposals a couple of years later, and they were approved as standards. The NSOAF then authorised them as ‘generally accepted practices’. Having been nominated by the National Mines Inspectorate, we were even presented with the International Regulators Forum Carolita Kallaur award, in the dignified setting of Britain’s House of Lords. This is clear evidence of support for harmonisation.

Gert-Jan Windhorst is HSEQ Manager at Noble Drilling (EU-division)

? 15


If you have to follow a procedure that tells you how

to put one foot in front of the other for every step you take, does that make sense?

Or is it more likely to trip you up?






In the early years of the current millennium a communication consultancy was invited to produce a brochure about gas extraction for a leading player in the oil and gas industry. The assignment and briefing appeared clear enough, but some areas turned out to be too nebulous to capture in specific terms. One of these areas was HSE. In the ensuing discussions, the bureau got to the heart of what the company was struggling with. The brochure was never published, but was replaced by an internal campaign: to refresh operational knowledge, including raising awareness of the risks and dangers in the workplace. Both the commitment of employees and the outcomes surprised everyone: the organisation itself every bit as much as the wider industry.

What made the difference? An ability to listen, a fresh outlook on issues, fluent translation of technical jargon into comprehensible language, and enthusiasm. It marked the start of what is still a close relationship. Also – good news travels fast, and at the end of the day the oil and gas industry is a small world – a growing number of other parties in the industry became clients; small, large and even market leaders, in the Netherlands and elsewhere.

Dilemma or luxury problem?

The privilege of being shown

behind scenes in many different organisations demands impeccable integrity. At the same time, an honest person takes everything in his stride. The impressions gained are for the purpose of being digested. In a literal sense to produce sound advice for the client, and in a figurative sense as a sort of continuous induction in the ins and outs of an industry. Two aspects of the consultancy product then emerge. One that meets the immediate, current needs, while the consultancy’s own ambition develops on a parallel path. Starting from an understanding of the sector follows a cautious assessment of the realism of the insights, inspirations and ideas built-up in the course of time.



And that assessment has revealed substantial added value. The proactive attitude is even evolving into a distinctive proposition, or trade mark. Initiatives are rewarded with campaigns and communication tracks that meet international acclaim, appreciation and imitation. Mindful that similarities matter more than differences, no eyebrows are raised even when the bureau forges bridges between companies that, despite being natural partners, remain each other’s rivals. Knowledge and experience can be shared provided the aim, of continuous professionalisation of the sector (including contractors!), remains intact. The bureau’s professionalisation initiatives in recent years speak for themselves.

The bureau’s style of thinking and acting is best captured in the

“A will to learn from the past is essential. Having the courage to take a stake in the future is a great challenge. Our mission is to pluck the fruits now – in the present.”

following statements.

One step beyond: www.thewatgroup.com

? 19


Where are the boundaries? Where are yours? How could things be different?



An advance on

EVOLUTION Where actually is the ‘competitive edge’ for the companies involved in oil and gas exploration in the Netherlands? The answer comes from simply stating the facts: as they are and as they could be.

Jan-Willem van Hoogstraten


“I would happily fight on the barricades for making rules uniform.” Our industry has seen an interesting trend in recent years. While underground reserves have been steadily declining, the challenges of continuing to operate profitably have increased, as the freedom to manoeuvre and the margin have dwindled. Calls for optimisation and greater efficiency have grown ever louder. These calls have translated into trends such as offshore crew downsizing and concentration on the ultimate responsibilities as licensee.

Shifts Various contractors have turned the situation to their advantage. It started in the 1960s with the occasional small project on the North Sea. Some expanded into fully integrated service providers with a broad package of services for the industry. Contractors accepted certain responsibilities that previously resided with the operators. Specialisation finally brings the advantage of being a specialist. Knowledge shifted from clients to contractors. This change put clients in a somewhat vulnerable position; knowledge, after all, is power. The influx of new employees did nothing to strengthen this position. Many of the new people no longer had an operational background. The supply of recruits from other maritime sectors – after several waves of reorganisation – also dried up. New employees were often recruited from outside, and affinity with the sector was scarcely an issue in the selection process.



Straws in the wind Hopping from platform to platform, and from company to company, contractors evolved into indispensable sources of knowledge and experience. But what about the oil and gas companies: the licensees with ultimate responsibility for the operation? They continued – as they still do – to adhere rigidly to their own established patterns; their own protocols. In the meantime, the contractor would long since have been unable to find ‘the truth in the middle’ had he himself been less right-minded.

“Anyone who is able to develop professionally within a uniform framework will be far more broadly employable. It is a way of offering your people attractive prospects for moving to other companies, operators, or contractors. This may sound paradoxical, but people will be in less of a hurry to leave their current employer if they are confident of the opportunity to move elsewhere if the need arises…”

Right to exist It could be so much simpler. Just think of the time when each company had its own ships, and chartered its own helicopters. This era is now long gone. We have made enormous efficiency gains through having pools of assets. Whenever we go offshore the helicopter instruction video we watch is the same. So why don’t we have uniform rules and procedures for the North Sea, the same licence system, the same alarm number, and the same emergency response procedure? Is it because we all, individually, think we know best? And why should we, the oil and gas companies, have to create the rules? Wouldn’t it be much more logical for the specialist to do it? Wouldn’t offshore then be appreciably clearer and safer? Sometimes I even wonder what added value oil or gas company X, Y or Z still sees in operating its own platforms. Shouldn’t we be thinking about reconfiguring our business, and introducing a pool for this too? With a system like the one in the UK, where contractors are able to act as ‘duty holders’? Suppose this system were to materialise, shouldn’t we, the oil and gas companies, then focus more sharply on what we derive our right to exist from: finding and developing sources of oil and gas?

Jan Willem van Hoogstraten is Managing Director of TAQA Energy B.V.


dialogue We have made agreements in our industry about working, and returning home, in safety and health. Needless to say, some things could be different. Do you know anything

that could be better?




Calorie more or Natascha Bruti



In the last edition I concluded with the words:

eat, enjoy and exercise


In this issue I would like to make clear you how little exercise you really need to stay fit (and fitting in your clothes). Xander Bakker (cook on J6A Markham) gave me an overview of what is being cooked on a rig in two weeks. And that looks good! I would like to show you how much you take in, what you really need and how you exercise away the excess.

Like fuel for your car is expressed in liters, the fuel for your body is expressed in kilo-calories. An adult, healthy man needs approximately 2500 kilo-calories (kcal) a day. When you take in less, you become less heavy and when you take in more, you become more heavy. Not too complicated right?

1 gram of fat = 9 kcal 1 gram of carbohydrate or protein= 4 kcal 1 gram of alcohol = 6 kcal

So how much exercise do you need to work out these useless calories? Well, that depends on what you choose to do. Here are some examples:

To work away 100 kilo-calories you could:

• skip rope for 7 minutes • jog for 10 minutes • swim for ten minutes (can be difficult offshore) • cycle for 15 minutes • kick the ball for 15 minutes • wash and vacuum clean your car (the automatic car-wash won’t have the same effect) • have sex for half an hour (tell at home that it is part of the exercise :) 1,5 minute seems to be too short).



If you would like to look up your own sport to see how many calories you may lose, follow:


So again, I would like to conclude with:

eat, enjoy and exercise!

Today a simple, but tasty recipe of Italian origin.

For 20 plates op pasta you need: 7 cans of peeled tomatoes 5 onions 12 cloves of garlic 2 chilipeppers some herbs ( oregano, chilipowder) salt 5 handsfull of fresh basil 2,5 kilo’s of dried pasta olive oil Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a pan. Heat the garlic, chilipeppers and onions in the oil till soft. Add the tomatoes. Bring the sauce to boil and let it simmer. Add salt and dried herbs till the taste is how you would like it to be. Add the pasta. Towards the end of the cooking-time you taste the pasta, is it salt enough? How is the bite? When it’s ready drain the pasta and put it in a bowl. Cut the basil and stir it through the sauce . Add the sauce to the pasta, stir, spread some grated cheese on it and enjoy!

A portion of this pasta contains 350 calories. So after a half hour of cycling we lost that altogether as well!

Next time I will work together in the kitchen with offshore cook Xander.




What do you think? Do you see things differently? Tell us!






Ramon Rollfs of Roelofs


“What you get out is what you put in.” I think most of you will agree. When we put positive energy into anything, we cannot help but get it back again. Not that this is absolutely inevitable, but it is an unwritten rule. You can see it in many everyday things. Driving is a good example. Not long ago in The Hague, where I live, I turned into what had recently been made into a one-way street. For many years I had been in the habit of turning left off Scheveningseweg through this narrow road on my way to the office, thus avoiding several sets of traffic lights. Unfortunately many other drivers did the same thing, and the residents of the intimate little street rightly complained about all the through traffic. This is how I came to be driving along that road that day, like so many times before, when I was stopped by a frantically waving elderly woman on a bike. “Don’t you know this is a one-way street?. You’re not allowed to turn in here.” At which point I wound down my window in surprise and said “Sorry madam, I had no idea. The thing is, I’ve been taking this short cut for so many years that I just didn’t notice the new sign. Thank you for drawing my attention to it.” Equally surprised, the woman replied, “No harm done. These things happen. And thank you for being so polite! I have to say that wasn’t what I was expecting.” I felt a warm glow of happiness through my body and consciousness. Ten years ago my reaction would probably have been brusque and ill-tempered. I would most likely have told the woman to mind her own business. Having done that, I would have felt bad and regretted my rudeness, before putting the guilt out of mind. Just bury the feeling somewhere deep and not dwell on it! The elderly woman would have been saddened and her disillusionment with the modern world would only have increased.

Fortunately, things were different that day. The woman and I could continue with no negative thoughts or bubbles in our consciousness, but above all safely, to our destinations.



There are many examples of this sort where the input determines the output. You could say that our actions acquire quality when we speak to our colleagues, friends, partner, family, people we meet and pets with respect. But how can you be sure you are speaking in a friendly way? By asking yourself: how would I like to be spoken to! To do this you need a deep understanding and a healthy dose of concentration. How can we acquire these things? There are probably many different ways, but in my case much growth and development came through coaching and meditation! Philosophy talks about the doctrine of ethics, and in Buddhism people study the Eightfold Path:

• Right view: ego is no more than a superficial construction of the mind. Attaching too much importance to it is harmful for your development and people and things around you. • Right intention in life: we all make mistakes, simply because what we don’t know is more than what we do. Intention is therefore an important guide for our actions. The right intention helps you develop further. • Right action for your own benefit and that of your fellow creatures. • Right effort: doing your best, but also stopping in good time to relax. • Right speech: when colleagues make mistakes, being aware that these things happen. If you immediately bawl someone out you just create more negativity. Being attentive and empathetic (putting yourself in the other person’s position) will help create more space. • Right livelihood • Right concentration • Right mindfulness

Don’t worry, we’re not talking about a new version of the ten commandments! I think everyone who reads Buddha’s eight guidelines above will find something to agree with. They are actually self-evident, and are perhaps more relevant today than ever. In a time in which no one minces their words any more, often from a life stance based on superficial thinking, and therefore an approach to life with diverse intentions, it would sometimes be a good thing to take a step backwards. What this means is first thinking, feeling and concentrating, then doing, speaking, and acting. Then we will not only find ourselves to be nicer people, but others will too. If you ask me, however you try to explain it, in the end it comes down to the right team spirit. About having everyone pulling in the same direction, but mainly also knowing what you like and what you don’t. I think that within companies this is an essential part of achieving the right balance of work, pleasure and learning. Isn’t that what it’s all about? On the subject of safety, I think what is relevant is mutual alertness with colleagues, family members, flatmates, and so on. In other words, paying attention instead of panicking. There are many ways of developing and training your attention. Have you ever spent 20 minutes sitting in unbroken silence? I invite you to try it!

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Why does it take so long to achieve a little bit of uniformity

in the industry? Sometimes you just have to make a start to find out that far more can be achieved than you first thought. And when you start, do it properly: as resolutely as possible.

Frits van der Wilt



“It would be going too far to make comparisons of each other’s well data.” We are firmly in favour of sharing knowledge and experience. Why should we keep reinventing the wheel, since we are all doing roughly the same things with the same aim? How far you should pursue that line of thought obviously depends on the circumstances in which you operate. For instance, we in Norway abandoned a package of our own procedures in favour of those adopted by several major companies. In the Netherlands I (and others) have often advocated joining with other companies to achieve some goal or other. Until now this objective has not been taken up sufficiently, at least in firm projects. I always sense a degree of reluctance when subjects of this kind come up for discussion, which may be why talks tend to stall. I then wonder where the reluctance comes from. Might people be worried that someone could make off with the information? Let’s be honest: haven’t we been using each other’s information for years? It’s almost a habit!

“To use a shipping industry analogy. One captain lets you keep your boots on, but another makes you take them off.” although there are many international agreements about competencies, certificates, and so on.

I think there is no point in waiting until everyone is in line from A to Z. It must be possible simply to start, specifically with the aspects about which there is no debate. There is a generic part that is the same for all companies. There are many other subjects on which views and opinions run in parallel. When all is said and done, we do not differ drastically from each other. So let’s get together at the start and set down what we want. And where differences do exist, it is likely that they can and will diminish as we discover that we indeed have more in common than appeared at first glance. It is more awkward to identify common factors in company-specific aspects, and this may indeed be impossible on site or platform level. But take note: if we act like rigidly rational engineers, we will soon get bogged down deciding on the pitch of a screw thread. It is not an option to think that time will stop if the clock isn’t ticking. With this in mind, we have been getting around the table with several parties recently to try to draft a joint document on what we have in common. In other words, we have simply made a start. When we have made a little more progress, we will welcome other parties to join us.

Frits van der Wilt is HSE Manager at GDF SUEZ E&P Nederland B.V.


for industry, by industry HSE LIFE is a forum for those working in the petroleum and natural gas industry. HSE LIFE focuses particularly on those working wherever HSEW is really an issue or really should be an issue: on the shop floor.

HSE LIFE magazine is published by: The WAT Group B.V. P.O. Box 20033 7302 HA Apeldoorn The Netherlands Mobile: +31 (6) 462 95 25 6(7, 8, 9) Take a look at our renewed website: www.thewatgroup.com On this issue worked René Beaumont, Natascha Bruti, Marjou Janse, Veselin Raznatovic, Ramon Roelofs, Marcel van Spronsen, Pier van Spronsen, Stéphanie van Stockum, Janine IJssel de Schepper, Jonathan van Woudenberg

Please e-mail any comments about subjects discussed in this magazine to info@thewatgroup.com attn. Janine Ijssel de Schepper.

Articles may not be taken from this publication within the meaning of Article 15 of the Netherlands Copyright Act.; © The WAT Group B.V. 2010